Citizen Disssatisfaction with Snowcreek VIII

After two months of deliberation, it was a toss up as to whether or not Hart/Howerton, the design firm hired to layout Snowcreek VIII, had delivered on the 90 framework questions the community had posed to them back in May.

As part of the neighborhood district planning process for Snowcreek VIII, a meeting had been held on May 14 so that Hart/Howerton could hear from the public on project issues.

At this week’s meeting, one member of the public said that the sheer size of this project will be like putting another whole city in Sherwin Meadow. This is why the community is so concerned about the project which includes a golf course, hotel and residential development.

Out of the 90 issues, Planning Commission Chair Elizabeth Tenney felt Hart/Howerton had addressed 43, but the planners from Hart/Howerton felt they had addressed somewhere between 60 and 66 of the questions (the number changed throughout the night as they gave their presentation).

While some members of the audience felt that the answers to the questions, however many had been answered, were still too vague to be understood, other people like Tom Cage felt the process was right on target for the district planning effort.

“Remember, this is the top level looking down,” Cage said, trying to remind the public that district planning, by definition, is only a conceptual-level process.

John Wentworth from Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access, however, asked, “Why are we here tonight? We expected to see written responses to the questions.”

Planning Commissioner Roy Saari agreed and asked Hart/Howerton to revise the conceptual bullet points they had presented. He requested that they give a one or two sentence answer right next to each question.

The way the planning firm had presented their report was to prioritize the way the project should be looked at, starting with the golf course since that will take up approximately 170 of the 230 acres. They then delved into items such as circulation, hotel and residential and hotel development and more. Instead of setting the presentation up in the fashion of Framework Question 1, with an answer, they had lumped many items together.

Wentworth felt this made it difficult to tell how many questions they had really answered.

By the end of the two-hour, joint commission meeting, which included commissioners from Planning, Public Arts, Mobility and Tourism and Recreation, it was decided that the discussion would be continued to the August 13 Planning Commission meeting. At this meeting it is expected that Hart/Howerton will be able to wrap up the answers to the questions and report back.

Snowcreek’s legal counsel Sonja Ramson did request that Hart/Howerton be allowed to remove issues from the list of 90 that are not appropriate for the neighborhood district planning process, such as environmental issues that will have to be dealt with during a future CEQA process. The commissions agreed to this request.

Complete copies of the original framework questions, as well as Hart/Howerton’s July 29, 2008 report are available on the Town of Mammoth Lakes’ website,


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